The week was extra special in Lincoln, for a number of reasons.
“My coach (Ryan Herring) came up to me this week and told me they (Munford) had asked the superintendent permission to sing their alma mater on our field after they won,” Lincoln senior TJ Truss said Friday night. “I did think they underestimated us.”
Truss and the rest of the Golden Bears did the singing Friday, taking control early and cruising to a 34-12 win over their archrivals at Keith Howard Memorial Stadium.
It was quite a turnaround for Herring’s squad, which dropped its opener 28-0 to Leeds.
“In 14 years, I have never challenged kids for a whole week like I challenged these kids this week,” Herring said. “I didn’t think our focus was anywhere near where it needed to be (against Leeds); I didn’t think we were anywhere near as physical as we needed to be. I almost drove myself crazy this week.
“All the credit goes to the kids. They responded to the challenge.”
Lincoln (1-1, 1-0) took control early thanks to positive field position. On the first possession of the game, Munford’s (1-1, 0-1) Tavon Lawson lost a fumble, setting up the Bears at the Lions’ 35-yard line.
Five plays later, junior Chance Byrd broke free on an option run for a 23-yard touchdown, and Lincoln led 7-0 after the Mason McLean point-after.
A McLean kickoff pinned Munford deep, and Lincoln forced a punt to take over at the Lions’ 42. A seven-play drive ended with a 13-yard toss from Byrd to sophomore Tredarian Gamble. McLean’s kick was true, and Lincoln led 14-0 with two minutes still to play in the first quarter.
“We just got whipped,” Munford head coach Will Wagnon said. “It’s a situation I’ve never been a part of. … We did some good things and had some opportunities, but we just got whipped physically. We couldn’t move them, and they were moving us.”
Truss led all rushers for the night, with 15 carries for 115 yards. His lone touchdown of the night — a 19-yard rush to cap an 80-yard drive — gave Lincoln a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
“We knew we were going to turn it up and play,” said Truss. “We knew if we kept hitting them, eventually they would lay down.”
Munford did respond, first on an 80-yard touchdown catch-and-run by sophomore CJ Chapman that made the score 21-6. On Lincoln’s ensuing possession, a Truss fumble gave the Lions possession at the Bears’ 34.
A 30-yard scramble on fourth down by Monteo Garrett set the Lions up at Lincoln’s 3-yard line. Two plays later, senior Eric Baird ran it in around right end. Lincoln led 21-12 at halftime.
“This atmosphere was great,” Herring said after the game. “Both sides were just packed. This is what Alabama high school football is all about.”
For the game, Garrett carried the ball 19 times for 22 total yards, including seven sacks. He completed 6-of-11 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown.
The Bears put a stamp on the game to start the second half, driving 62 yards for a score, keyed by a Byrd 33-yard run. Senior Tykey Sillmon scored from five yards away to make it 27-12.
Sillmon finished with 78 yards on 20 carries, and two touchdowns. His second, in the fourth quarter, provided the final margin.
Munford returns home to face Cleburne County.
“We’ve got to regroup and get better,” Wagnon said. “A lot of times, games like this, you find out who can play and who can’t. We’ll go back to work.”
Lincoln will travel to face Anniston next week.
“This is going to be a memory for me,” Truss said. “It was my last year to play (Munford).”
Contact Will Heath at email@example.com.